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  • Writer's pictureHanni Berger CEO JOYVIAL

You Might be Skinny but Not Healthy

Would you want to ditch your scale? Most of us feel so defined by our weight, we get frustrated and can really beat ourselves up. Yes, what you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent.

Let's consider for a moment your waist circumference…

I suspect you have heard the analogy of our bodies often resemble the shape of an “apple” or a “pear”. The apple is round around the middle and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs. That’s what we're talking about here.

One of those shapes is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases). And yes, you may have guessed it, it’s the apple.

And it's not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”. The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs. This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that's where a lot of the problem actually is. It's this “un-pinchable” fat.

The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure. Statistically speaking those with an apple-shaped figure tend to have more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.

This is also the reason why skinny people can’t always assume that their body is healthy. The term “skinny fat” refers to someone who may have what would be considered a normal/healthy weight, but metabolically, this person shares many health characteristics as someone who is overweight or obese – such as having a high percentage of body fat, high cholesterol, or hypertension.

So as you can see where your fat is stored is more important than how much you weigh. But for now let’s stick with the more obvious shapes.

Am I an apple or a pear?

It's fairly straight forward to find out if you're in the higher risk category or not. The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape. You can do it right now.

Women, if your waist is 35” or more you’d be in the higher risk category. Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course. For men the number is 40”.

Of course, this isn't a diagnostic tool. There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases. Waist circumference is just one of them. If you have concerns definitely see your doctor.

Tips to help reduce some belly fat:

  • Eat more fiber. Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways. First it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the number of calories you absorb from your food. Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.

  • Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer. It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.

  • Nix added sugars. This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).

  • Move more. Get some aerobic exercise. Lift some weights. Walk and take the stairs. It all adds up.

  • Stress less. Seriously! Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.

  • Get more sleep. Try making this a priority and you’ll see how much better you feel (and look).

Going from where you might be today to your optimal weight can feel so very daunting. I understand. Allow JOYVIAL's executive health coaches to break this seemingly gigantic mountain down into manageable steps that won’t overwhelm you. Click the 'Contact' button in the top right corner or simply send us an email to to schedule your free discovery session.

Remember, at JOYVIAL, we are committed to helping you live your healthiest, most JOYful life. For all the latest health and wellness tips and to get inspired, following along with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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